Akiba gives peace plea to mayors in the U.S.

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said Wednesday that the will of the people will be a decisive factor in bringing about a nuclear-free world as called for by President Barack Obama last year.

At a reception for the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2010, which opened in Washington for a four-day session, Akiba asked mayors from across the country to join Hiroshima-based Mayors for Peace and express their determination to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020.

Akiba heads Mayors for Peace, which groups 3,488 member cities in 134 countries and territories around the world. Its aim is the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In his speech, the mayor of the world’s first atomic-bombed city said Mayors for Peace is aiming to boost its member cities to 5,000 before the 2010 review conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is scheduled for May 3 to 28 in New York.

If the target is achieved, Mayors for Peace would represent 1 billion citizens around the world, Akiba said.

Akiba asked the participants at the U.S. Conference of Mayors to become leaders in helping to create a nuclear-free world.

Akiba is scheduled to meet Obama with other participants of the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the White House on Thursday.

The Hiroshima mayor left Japan on Jan. 15 for a 10-day trip to Nicaragua and the U.S.

In Nicaragua, he met with President Daniel Ortega Saavedra to seek his help in promoting Mayors for Peace.

Asian security meet

Kyodo News

A two-day meeting to discuss ways to counter nuclear terrorism and protect nuclear facilities opened Thursday in Tokyo, with government officials from 17 Asian countries attending along with nuclear security experts from the United States and Australia.

The participants will discuss how to safeguard nuclear and other radioactive materials.